Forrester’s 2016 Data Predictions: Out With Data Pack Rats. Turn Data Into Action

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Instinctively we know that it is not just about collecting the data. Big and bigger doesn’t necessarily make you smart and smarter.  It just makes you one of those pack rats that has piles of stuff in all corners of your house.  Yes, it might be very well organized and could have a potential use that makes it work keeping. But will you ever take it out and use it? Will you ever really benefit from what you’ve so painstakingly collected? Likely not.

Image GalleryDon’t be a data pack rat.  This is the year to turn your data into actions and positive business outcomes.

In 2016, the energy around data-driven investments will continue to elevate the importance of data and create incremental improvement in business performance for many but some serious digital disruption for others.  Here are a few of our data predictions for 2016.

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How mobile will transform business in 2016

Thomas Husson

With my peers Julie A. Ask, Jeffrey S. Hammond, Michael Facemire, Tyler Shields, Christian Kane, Jennifer Wiseand many other analysts, we put together our thoughts in a new 2016 Mobile predictions report on what to expect in the mobile space next year across industries and roles.

We believe 2016 will be the most consequential year for companies on the path to customer obsession, and that includes adapting empowered customers who expect to get anything they want immediately, in context on their mobile devices.

What role does mobile play in customer obsession, and how can businesses leapfrog their competition to deliver superior customer experiences? Here are three ways Forrester predicts mobile will change the ways business leaders operate in 2016.

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Forrester’s 2016 Predictions: All That Data Will Finally Drive Business Action

Carlton Doty

Do you consider yourself “data-driven”? If you’re like most business and technology leaders, you do. But the reality is that most businesses have only scratched the surface when it comes to transforming all of that data into insight that drives real business action. In our 2016 predictions report, my colleagues Brian Hopkins, Jennifer Belissent, PhD., and I predict what will happen in the hottest areas of big data, analytics, business intelligence, and systems of insight — and tell you what to do about it. Here’s a sneak at just a few highlights:

  • Chief data officers (CDOs) will gain power, prestige, and presence . . . for now. The trend toward appointing a CDO accelerated in 2015, and will continue in 2016.  CI pros should take advantage of this. How? Extend customer insights beyond marketing to drive a culture of insights-to-execution across the organization.
  • Firms will try to come to terms with data science scarcity. Two-thirds of firms will have built predictive systems capability by mid-2016, but will struggle to find data science talent. Customer insights teams must increase analytic yield without waiting for hard-to-find data scientists. How? Some analytics platforms from vendors like AgilOne, Custora, and Origami Logic can empower business users without a rigorous statistical background.
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Neustar Acquires MarketShare To Close The Data to Insights Gap

Tina Moffett

Last Thursday, marketing data and analytics company, Neustar, agreed to acquire marketing analytics technology provider MarketShare Partners, for $450 million.  Neustar is an information services company, providing everything from complex registry management to deliver marketing insights. MarketShare Partners provides advanced analytics technology to help c-level executives improve marketing’s impact on revenue.    

The Neustar acquisition of MarketShare means:

A powerful insights engine will come to market.  The Neustar acquisition of MarketShare for $450 million indicates one thing:data is not enough. Neustar needed to expand on its existing data, marketing, and identity solutions and add an analytics technology layer to help CMOs measure, analyze, and optimize marketing initiatives.  The acquistion of MarketShare helps Neustar clients bring all that rich data to life, and will give MarketShare clients access to even more customer based data to enhance its current analytics.

Neustar to gain more access to CMOs .  Neustar’s primary stakeholders sit right below the c-suite. This acquisition will  hopefully change that; MarketShare’s strong experience  as a  trusted advisor Fortune 1000 to clients such as USAA, Hilton, and Neiman Marcus.  MarketShare has a proven track record of guiding executives through marketing planning decisions, changes in prices, and change management decisions.  This acquisition will potentially give Neustar more credibility with C-level executives, if they can speak their language.

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2016 Mobile Predictions: Alternative Ecosystems Beyond Android and iOS Will Emerge

Thomas Husson

Customer-obsessed businesses will take personalization to the next level in 2016. By the end of 2016, Forrester forecasts that 4.8 billion individuals globally will use a mobile phone, and as that number continues to grow, customer-obsessed business leaders have vast opportunities to deliver great customer experiences via mobile.


Mobile moments -- a time when consumers picks up their mobile devices to get what they want in that moment of need --  are the next battleground where to win, serve, and retain customers. Many executives believe they should manufacture and own these moments through their native branded iOS or Android apps. While this is, of course, one way to serve their best and most loyal customers Forrester research found that consumers use fewer apps and concentrate the vast majority of their time in just few apps.

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Sea Changes in the Industry – A New HP and a New Dell Face Off

Richard Fichera

The acquisition of EMC by Dell has is generating an immense amount of hype and prose, much of it looking forward at how the merged entity will try and compete in cloud, integrate and rationalize its new product line, and how Dell will pay for it (see Forrester report “Quick Take: Dell Buys EMC, Creating a New Legacy Vendor”). Interestingly not a lot has been written about the changes in the fundamental competitive faceoff between Dell and HP, both newly transformed by divestiture and by acquisition.

Yesterday the competition was straightforward and relatively easy to characterize. HP is the dominant enterprise server vendor, Dell a strong challenger, both with PCs and both with some storage IP that was good but in no sense dominant. Both have competent data center practices and embryonic cloud strategies which were still works in process. Post transformation we have a totally different picture with two very transformed companies:

  • A slimmer HP. HP is smaller (although $50B is not in any sense a small company), and bereft of its historical profit engine, the margins on its printer supplies. Free to focus on its core mandate of enterprise systems, software and services, HP Enterprise is positioning itself as a giant startup, focused and agile. Color me slightly skeptical but willing to believe that it can’t be any less agile than its precursor at twice the size. Certainly along with the margin contribution they lose the option to fight about budget allocations between enterprise and print/PC priorities.
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Get Your Privacy House In Order, or 2016 Will Hit Your Business Hard

Fatemeh Khatibloo

Now that we’re firmly settled in the Age of the Customer, it’s time to take stock of the factors that are really going to drive business success -- or failure -- over the next few years. At Forrester, we’re betting our hats that privacy will be one a big one. In fact, we think that privacy is integral to each one of the 10 success factors in 2016.

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Forrester Predictions: What’s In Store For Privacy In 2016?

Heidi Shey

When evaluating the top 10 critical success factors that will determine who wins and loses in the Age of the Customer in 2016, it comes as no surprise that privacy is one of them. In fact, privacy considerations and strategy augments all of the 10 critical factors to drive business success in the next 12 months.


So, what does this mean for businesses moving forward?


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Forrester’s 2016 Predictions: Turn Data Into Insight And Action

Brian  Hopkins

Three of four architects strive to make their firms data driven. But well-meaning technology managers only deal with part of the problem: How to use technology to glean deeper, faster insight from more data -- and more cheaply. But consider that only 29% of architects say their firms are good at connecting analytics results to business outcome. This is a huge gap! And the problem is the ‘data driven’ mentality that never fights it’s way out of technology and to what firms care about - outcomes.

In 2016, customer-obsessed leaders will leapfrog their competition, and we will see a shift as firms seek to grow revenue and transform customer experiences. Insight will become a key competitive weapon, as firms move beyond big data and solve problems with data driven thinking.

Shift #1 - Data and analytics energy will continue drive incremental improvement

In 2016, the energy around data-driven investments will continue to elevate the importance of data and create incremental improvement in business performance. In 2016, Forrester predicts:

  • Chief data officers will gain power, prestige and presence...for now.  But the long term viability of the role is unclear. Certain types of businesses, like digital natives, won’t benefit from appointing a CDO.
  • Machine learning will reduce the insight killer - time. Machine learning will  replace manual data wrangling and data governance dirty work. The freeing up of time will accelerate data strategies.
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Blue Coat Systems Buy Elastica after Perspecsys

Andras Cser

As we predicted in our Brief: The Emergence of the Cloud Security Gateway, this market is consolidating fast. Blue Coat Systems announced this morning that they are acquiring Elastica. Forrester estimates that the acquisition price was between USD $280M-300M, while Blue Coat Systems has already spent an estimated $180-200M on Perspecsys. Here's how Forrester expects Blue Coat Systems will assemble their Cloud Security Gateway solution:

* Elastica intellectual property (IP): will be used for a) behavioral profiling, b) predictive analytics and c) anomaly detection in access to cloud applications.

* Perspecsys IP: will be used for a) cloud encryption and b) key management.

Blue Coat Systems has a herculean task on their hands: they have to successfully manage

1) Understanding existing Elastica and Perspecsys product portolios

2) Integrating Elastica and Perspecsys product portfolios into one single CSG offering

3) Integrating the resulting CSG solution with existing Blue Coat Systems solutions,

4) while managing the natural differecens,  post-acquisition attrition of key management and engineering resources from both acquired companies. 

Forrester expects that Blue Coat Systems will be able to the above in 9-12 months successfully.