One of the winners of this year’s Forrester/Infoworld Enterprise Architecture Awards segmented their EA practice into two disciplines: Innovation Architecture and Effectiveness Architecture. These two words describe the range of winners selected by our judges.
Before I announce the winners, let me tell you about why these two words are significant. The Forrester/Infoworld EA Awards have always sought to uncover programs that impact their business through the insight and value that only EA can provide. But many EA programs struggle with this – and the reason for this struggle lies more in themselves than in their context. Bottom line: They focus on "doing architecture" or on "being smart technical experts." Many talk about being more business-focused but aren’t willing to change their thinking or how they engage with their business.
The five winners of this year’s awards have changed their approach to EA and delivering business impact, and the results show.
With server-hosted virtual desktops (VDI), you take something that used to be a few centimeters from someone's fingertips - their Windows desktop - and move it sometimes thousands of miles away, and you expect them to be okay with that. It’s possible, but choose your technology vendor wisely, because the project’s success will hinge on the end user experience.
It’s not easy to give users an equal or better Windows desktop experience with VDI than they have with their local PC. If they rely on videoconferencing to collaborate with their colleagues, the VDI system has to work with their local webcam and it has to handle the video stream properly so they don’t get choppy voice and video. If they use a tablet, your VDI vendor’s tablet client has to be good, with intuitive touch gestures. There may need to be a way for them to install software, and they may need to use the system over a 4G/LTE network link while traveling.
To do all of these things and more across a wide range of work styles, devices, applications and networks requires sophisticated, expensive capabilities. If you choose your vendor primarily on cost, the solution you get may not have what you need to deliver an acceptable user experience - especially if your business needs change.
There is a fundamental division at the heart of the digital economy. Digital tools make it possible for any company to build a direct relationship with its customers. At the same time, new digital intermediaries can use the same digital tools to create unprecedented intermediary roles. Torn between two lovers, anyone?
We’re in the age of the customer, a period during which end consumers have more access to the basic economic resources that help them make more rational and empowered decisions. The theory of perfect competition dictates that market economies flourish best on a foundation of perfect information that enables perfectly rational actors. The digital technologies we all carry in our pockets — not to mention, have surrounding us in our cars, our homes, and even strapped to our bodies — have initiated a chain reaction, unleashing an unprecedented level of information, which has enabled us — if we choose to accept our mission — to behave like much more rational actors than ever before. (Caveat lector, I didn’t say “perfectly rational” for a reason. See our research on how humans make choices to understand more.)
The more those technologies spread, the more buyers and sellers enter the system, the more innovation there is — at lower cost, thanks to the economics of digital disruption – and the spiral feeds itself.
It's been eight years since the last presidential transition. Since then, we've seen real progress on the federal customer experience (CX) front, including the creation of the "customer service" cross-agency priority goal; the launch of 18F, the US Digital Service, and similar digital services shops; and the appointment of chief customer officers at four agencies.
Unfortunately, the next presidential transition could derail it all. The new administration might have different management priorities, misunderstand CX and its value, or simply want to undercut the current administration’s achievements. Improving federal CX may be good politics for nearly every conceivable incoming president, but that may not be enough. Some presidential transition experts bemoan times when neither good politics nor effectiveness were enough to save existing initiatives from a new administration's desire to appear different. As one expert put it, "Never underestimate the power of crazy."
Formally, the transition won't begin until the next president is chosen. In reality, work on the transition has already begun. The current administration has already refocused from rolling out new initiatives to securing its legacy; many senior executives are already planning their retirements or looking for work in the private sector.
Microsoft officially launched Cortana Suites — a key part of Windows Azure Intelligent Cloud — in China last week, together with MySQL Database on Azure. Windows Azure Intelligent Cloud provides real-time analytics and open source database services to Chinese customers in nationwide data centers operated by 21Vianet.
To give Chinese customers a better idea of how to use cloud-based analytics, Windows Azure demonstrated customer usage scenarios involving big data analytics on cloud. The China Meteorological Administration partnered with AccuWeather, using Windows Azure to monitor and analyze air quality data from meteorological satellites and local air monitoring stations in real time.
Chinese manufacturers face challenges from digital service providers that better understand customers and shorten the distance from product design to the end user. After implementing real-time analytics on sensor data and customer behavior, manufacturers can improve their business models via:
Product innovation. Chinese manufacturers have started tracking operational data from sensors embedded in their products to manage and predict product upgrade and maintenance cycles. Customers prefer to pay for the time they actually use the equipment — so mechanical manufacturers use cloud analytics to support this sales model. The recent rash of elevator accidents in China primarily involved elevators whose manufacturers had limited labor resources for post-sales services — a common complaint of Chinese elevator manufacturers.
In late March, Amazon cracked up the Twittosphere with an announcement that it would release a Dash button (not to be confused with the Amazon Dash device which is a wand for your kitchen). It is a button that you put in your home (like your laundry room) and program to order a single packaged good (say a specific SKU of Tide detergent). You press the button and that item gets ordered through your Amazon Prime account. On September 2, Amazon made the buttons available to the general public (Amazon Prime members specifically) for $5 each.
My esteemed colleague James McQuivey just published a piece calling the Dash Buttons the Best Bad Idea of 2015 in which he outlines the reasons why this device, while widely mocked, is actually a super interesting idea whose most fascinating applications won’t even be with Amazon.
I spent the last couple of months interviewing marketers and vendors to understand how brands integrate push notifications and in-app messages in their marketing strategy.
Even though my research was primarily focused on mobile apps, I was convinced that there was much more at play. In fact, brands that can harness the power of contextual data to consistently deliver customer value will deliver compelling brand experiences that will build brand preference and, ultimately, loyalty.
Even with the emergence of connected objects that send notifications, smartphones will remain the primary interface in which consumers will personalize their digital experiences. Smartphones will become the hub for most interactions between a brand and its customers. In the next five to 10 years, consumers will use smartphone apps to define and control the communication environment in which brands can interact with them. In particular, we see that:
Mobile will become the primary touchpoint for brands to engage consumers. Mobile traffic has already overtaken desktop traffic in five major countries: Nigeria, India, South Africa, Indonesia, and Poland.No doubt this will happen across the globe in the next couple of years. B2C marketers will become smarter in engaging customers via mobile, maturing their approach and moving progressively to the holy grail of one-to-one marketing.
This is the first post in a series on strategies and tactics for negotiating your licensing agreements with software companies including SAP, Salesforce, and Workday.
I recently had a call from an unhappy SAP customer moaning about the high costs of SAP’s annual maintenance and questioning whether they are getting good value for the money. I’m afraid that this is not a one-off conversation but something that is popping up regularly these days. The factors leading to the dissatisfaction include:
Join us tomorrow as we host a webinar on the state of global online retailing in 2015. Learn how to better target increasingly sophisticated buyers through an understanding of consumer behaviors and market trends. We will talk about the present status of shoppers and its implications for the future. The webinar will draw on forecast data insights from our Online Retail, Web-Influence, and Luxury Retail forecasts.
We plan to discuss:
1) What you can learn from young mobile shoppers in mobile-first economies.
2) How product purchases differ across markets and why that matters.
3) How the changing eCommerce landscape is impacting consumer purchase behaviors.