IBM Plans To Build 15 Data Centers To Expand Its Global Cloud Footprint

Sudhanshu Bhandari
Last month IBM announced plans to invest $1.2 billion in expanding its cloud footprint. IBM will deliver cloud services from 25 existing data centers and 15 new data centers in 2014. In the Asia Pacific region, IBM plans to open new data centers in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, and Japan.
 
In the last two quarters of 2013, leading cloud hosting vendors announced plans to set up new data centers in Asia Pacific. Given the growing data privacy concerns among enterprises in the region, this momentum will only increase in 2014.
 
IBM’s cloud will accelerate cloud adoption among enterprise customers. Regional data centers will give IBM customers the ability to control the placement of their data and get consistent performance without worrying about the financial stability of the service provider. IBM aims to overcome customers’ concerns about a shared public cloud by offering the flexibility to host a completely dedicated private cloud in an IBM data center.
 
To accelerate the adoption of IBM’s cloud, the company should use an integrated end-to-end solution for business stakeholders and drive business growth by focusing on satisfying its existing enterprise customers.
 
To see Forrester’s recommendations, check out the full report.

Computers, Privacy & Data Protection Conference 2014: Embracing User Privacy As A Competitive Advantage

Dan Bieler

By Enza Iannopollo and Dan Bieler

The recent Computers, Privacy & Data Protection Conference (CPDP) showcased a series of innovative projects that are based on big data. Big data is one of the four imperatives that shape the age of the customer — one of Forrester’s main focus areas — and the changing regulatory framework of data protection in Europe has big implications for big data initiatives.

Central to data protection is the existing EU Data Protection Directive, which legislators have been trying to update for years to reflect the changing online realities. The proposed Data Protection Regulation focuses on a redefinition of the concept of “consent.” User consent now has to be freely given, specific, informed, and explicit.

This new definition forces businesses to be more transparent about how they gather, use, disclose, and manage customer data in the form of the principles of privacy notice and purpose limitation. Complying with these new privacy principles is a challenge in the age of the customer, as privacy regulation affects:

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New Research: AWS Cloud Security - AWS Takes Important Steps For Securing Cloud Workloads

Edward Ferrara

Security is the No. 1 impediment to Cloud Service adoption. Forrester’s research has shown this over the last three years. Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) are responding to this issue. AWS has built an impressive catalog of security controls as a part of the company’s IaaS/PaaS offerings.  If you are currently or considering using AWS as a CSP you should check out the following new research.

AWS Cloud Security - AWS Takes Important Steps For Securing Cloud Workloads

Sharing Is More Than Caring: Shared Services Enable Public Sector Tech Upgrades

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

As we all learned as kids, it's nice to share.  That holds true for public sector organizations as well, particularly in tough times. Public sector organizations don't have the privilege of dialing back on scope in challenging economic times. In fact, when the going gets tough, government organizations often have to kick into high gear. And that was the case with state unemployment insurance (UI) programs in the US, which saw spikes in applications when the economy slumped.  But in most states the technology infrastructure wasn’t up to the task.  

  • Legacy systems were on life-support... Colorado’s 25-year-old COBOL-based mainframe systems continued to process unemployment insurance claims, but it was increasingly difficult and costly to find the "doctors" to keep it alive. They had to bring developers out of retirement to maintain it.  State officials knew it was only a matter of time before they had to pull the plug on their system.
  • …and just weren’t up to the task. Not only did the “look and feel” leave a lot to be desired, the legacy system failed to deliver. The system ran processes in batch mode, meaning that data was typically collected over a period of time (daily, weekly, or monthly) and processed into the system at the end of the period. Daily downtime for processing excluded the possibility of 24-hour availability or even extended hours. The delays and lack of availability frustrated end users who wanted or needed real-time or near-real-time information to make decisions.
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Mobile Is A Catalyst Toward Agile Marketing

Thomas Husson

Seventy-six percent of marketers think that marketing has changed more in the past two years than in the past 50 years!*

Mobile is a significant contributing factor to this rapid pace of change. For example, between 2011 and 2013, Google’s YouTube share of mobile traffic has increased from 6% to 40%! Facebook’s mobile monthly active users have more than doubled from 432 to 945 million!

My colleague Craig Le Clair recently explained why business agility is a key competitive advantage. I just revisited his framework analysis to explain how marketers must adopt the principles of business agility to survive in the mobile era.

For mobile marketing to succeed, you must deliver your brand as a service, implementing more-personalized and more-contextualized brand experiences on mobile phones — but you can’t do it alone. These differentiated experiences require revamped back-end systems, which requires marketers to take an interest in the software, architecture, and processes handled by business technology (BT) teams. You must work closely with your BT counterparts to innovate new capabilities and deploy them with modern process methodologies and tools. Marketers have a lot to learn from the values underlying the notion of agile IT development.

As mobile matures as a marketing outlet, and as consumers around the world continue to embrace it as their primary Internet touchpoint, mobile’s volatility and velocity of change will instill the need to constantly iterate your entire marketing approach. It will become increasingly imperative for marketing leaders to embrace agile marketing.

Moving forward, agile marketers will:

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The Data Digest: For Super Bowl Ads, The Games Have Just Begun

Anjali Lai

Between the tackles and touchdowns of Super Bowl XLVIII, about 35 brands went head to head in a competition for consumer attention by airing highly anticipated commercials at $130,000 per second. Which brands won? It’s hard to tell: Bets were in well before Sunday, play-by-plays have been highlighted, trends analyzed, and commentators are still discussing them.

The truth is that the games have just begun. For consumers, the Super Bowl ad spectacle is part of the “discovery” phase — the first of four stages constituting Forrester’s customer life cycle — as commercials educate markets about a new product or momentarily make an impression on individuals. The resulting waves of social chatter now rippling across the Web amplify each brand’s capacity to be noticed.

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Shoppers Avoid Eye Contact With Digital Storefronts

Adam Silverman

Looking back at 2013, it’s easy to see all of the great innovation occurring within the digital store. Most retailers focused on omnichannel fulfillment, whether it was click-and-collect or ship-from-store.  Some retailers like B&Q in the U.K. began to experiment with dynamic pricing in-store. If 2013 was about launching new services, 2014 will be about shedding light on the actual performance of these initiatives.

One example of new digital store technology is eBay’s digital storefronts. Last year in June, eBay made a splash by deploying a digital storefront for Kate Spade, allowing customers to browse and buy products from a giant digital screen strategically placed over a vacant physical storefront. This digital storefront replaces the static posters that mall operators use to cover up vacant stores.  This past holiday season, eBay expanded the pilot and deployed a series of digital storefronts in a popular San Francisco mall.  These new digital storefronts are a few blocks from the Forrester offices, and I capitalized on the close proximity to conduct some research on how the technology was being used and received. eBay launched three digital storefronts: a small format Rebecca Minkoff storefront, a small format TOMS storefront, and a large Sony storefront in front of an escalator exit.

In mid December, I spent two hours observing customer interactions with the digital storefronts (some might even call it lurking). After an informal assessment of almost 500 shoppers who passed by these digital storefronts, I came to the following conclusions:

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Digital Experience Delivery Sourcing: How Many Vendors Do You Buy From?

Mark Grannan

Today, we ran a short poll: "How many different vendors do you source digital experience solutions from?"  After seeing the results -- which matched our expectations -- the only word that comes to mind is 'fragmentation.'  

My colleague David Aponovich and I ran this poll during a webinar today for Forrester clients on the rise of digital experience platforms. Initially, you might think "doesn't this prove David and Mark wrong?"  But when you view this fragmentation against the need to deliver coherent digital experiences across touchpoints, we believe the journey many organizations face demands greater integration across these solutions.  As integration improves -- whether it comes prepackaged from the same vendor or not -- customer experiences should benefit from improved contextualization, and internal benefits will include unified interfaces, streamlined workflows, role-relevant data views, coherent commercial relationships, and much more.

We want to know: What are your organization's digital experience platform initiatives? Please take 15 minutes to let us know via our survey.

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Sony Should Have Been A Digital Contender

James McQuivey

(See a more detailed and interactive version of this post on touchcast, by clicking
on "View Interactive Version" in the video above or visiting TouchCast.)

News out today confirms that Sony has indeed sold off its Vaio PC arm, ending 17 years in the personal computer business. And that CEO Kazuo Hirai has also decided to separate the TV division into a standalone unit in order to better heal it. Although he insists for now that Sony has no plans to sell that division, it would be foolish of the company not to consider any good offers. If there are any.

Because really, who would want that business? It has lost nearly $8 billion in the last 10 years and has been rapidly losing share to Samsung and LG and is about to get attacked by Chinese TV makers eager to have more influence in the US and other Western markets. I saw a very impressive offering from Hisense, TCL, and Haier at this year’s CES and expect them to make inroads against the more expensive panels from Sony, Panasonic, and Sharp, all of which have struggled to keep up.

Did this have to be Sony’s fate? Absolutely not.

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Organizations Will Rapidly Ramp Up Data Services Spend In 2014

Charles Green
Improving the use of data and analytics is a top strategic priority for many companies. But organizations face major challenges ramping up their information management capabilities — in particular due to the combination of a brutal proliferation of new or enhanced technologies, emerging data sources, and difficulty in finding skilled people with the appropriate experience. As a result, companies are increasingly looking to service providers for help.
 
My colleague Gene Leganza and I have therefore published two reports to help technology professionals navigate the data services market, with a particular focus on data management services (Data Management Services: Spending Trends For 2014 and Best Practices For Engaging Data Service Providers). These reports highlight both the rapid growth we expect to see in the market as well as best practices for engaging with service providers.
 
Please note that we use the term “data services” to refer to broader engagements (including data delivery, analysis, management, or governance-related services), while “data management services” form a smaller subset of services relating to finding, collecting, migrating, and integrating data.
 
Here are three of the key findings from our research:
 
  • More than two-thirds of organizations expect their spending on data management services to increase; 41% stated they expect spending to increase 5% to 10% in the next 12 months.
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