Moore’s Law was bound to catch up with us. Loosely applied, it says that technology grows more complex every year. Human brains do not. People can’t keep up with monitoring, debugging, and managing today’s technology. Users’ rising expectations make it even worse: they want features and fixes in minutes, not days or weeks. Technology may soon get away from us.
The American comic strip character Pogo put it this way: “we have met the enemy and he is us.” In this case, our enemy is also our best ally. Surely we can harness technology’s power to help us keep it under control. We can, we are, and we will. Predictive analytics, common for decades in other industries, is now a growing force for monitoring and managing business technology, and has the potential to put us back in control of our runaway technology.
The least sophisticated analytics predicts what instrumentation is appropriate for a server based on what software it’s running or what kinds of network traffic is going in or out. For example, is database software found, or are SQL queries going in and out? This analytics drives automation that reduces manual administrative work.
Moderately sophisticated analytics predicts trouble based on simple trends like CPU utilization rising, memory consumption rising, or free storage declining; and drives capacity planning before a resource crisis occurs.
Really sophisticated analytics watches multi-variate trends such as cycles of high user demand (for example monthly sales campaigns) coupled with performance expectations and resource constraints, to drive automated resource scale-up (to sustain best performance) or scale-down (to reduce over-provisioning costs).
Operations teams value stability. Uptime is golden. So it’s no surprise that operations teams buy finished, complete, documented, supported tools from vendors they can hold accountable. Ops people already have their hands full dealing with complex apps, infrastructure, and users – they don’t need to be hassling with flaky do-it-yourself tools. Even so, most operations teams still wind up with a mixture of tools from multiple vendors plus home-built integrations and scripts.
Development teams, on the other hand, are developers. If they need a tool to do exactly what they need, they’ll build one – and share it with their friends. As agile development has grown into continuous integration and continuous deployment, developers collaboratively created tools to automate tedious tasks and accelerate the application lifecycle. Customer obsession relies on speed, and speed relies on automation. The open source collaborative model has been very effective at creating the tools that support high frequency agile releases.
The DevOps phenomenon brings together these two teams and their divergent cultures. Yes, stability still matters; but what matters more in the age of the customer is agility through the entire software lifecycle, including the ops portion of release, deployment, and support. The success of collaborative open source tools in development suggests that operations may be headed the same way. And in the last year a lot more of my clients are asking about open source APM tools as an alternative to commercial solutions. I’m also seeing APM vendors more involved in contribution, participation, and use of open source. As Sam Cooke sang, “a change is gonna come.”
As a music lover, this has been a year of goodbyes for me, with many of my teenage heroes like David Bowie, Prince, and earlier this week, George Michael, passing away. It makes you realize how fast time moves on, and nothing lasts forever. As I’ve shared before, I love this time of year: Thinking about what has been, and having a world of opportunities in front of us. And I can’t wait to see what next year will bring.
This year, there were a number of surprises and new developments that nobody predicted. And 2016 was the year of Pokémon. As my colleague Anjali Lai shared in an earlier blog post about this phenomenon: “The Pokémon Go phenomenon is not only about adopting technology or using new, cutting-edge features; it is also about designing a sticky experience that is enabled by the ways customers are changing.”
China is set overtake the US as the largest retail market by the end of 2016, with retail sales approaching $4.9 trillion. In the Customer Experience Takes Center Stage In The Future Of Retail report, we outline the forces that are reshaping China's retail landscape and driving this massive growth. A handful of Chinese internet giants — Alibaba, JD.com, Baidu, and Tencent — are battling to gain dominance in online-to-offline (O2O) commerce and local services, logistics infrastructure and last-mile delivery, fresh food eCommerce, and cross-border eCommerce. Consumers in metro China have quickly grown more sophisticated, demanding consistent, high-quality interactions with brands. To further improve customer experiences and grow sustainably in China's retail market, successful retailers:
Fuse the online and offline worlds. O2O strategies draw customers from online channels to physical ones and vice versa. The ultimate goal is to blur channels and create seamless omnichannel CX. Customers don't think in terms of channels, and you shouldn't either. CX pros must work closely with enterprise architecture pros to break down data silos and build agility across systems, processes, and organizations in their company.
Digital technologies are transforming the entire value chain of insurance, not only opening up new distribution opportunities, but also altering how insurers can assess, price, and manage risks, and creating new distribution and business models. At Forrester, we have done extensive research over the past year that involved speaking to incumbent insurers and insurance technology providers, as well as leveraging our consumer technographics data for our digital insurance strategy playbook. The playbook provides guidance that digital business strategy professionals need to formulate and hone their digital insurance strategy in the age of the customer.
This time of the year is significant not only because of the never-ending amount of Christmas log cakes (or puddings) that we guiltily consume without restraint at our offices, it is also when we sit together to talk about everything that has transpired in the past year. As we go into the festivities over the next few days, this is the time for us to pause and reflect on the things that have gone well, and those that haven’t quite gotten to the stage of being ideal.
For the financial services sector in particular, this means taking stock of your digital transformation journey by evaluating your progress in digital banking in the age of the customer.
At Forrester, we have done extensive research that involved speaking to incumbent banks globally and leveraging our consumer technographics data for our digital banking strategy playbook. We have recently published the digital banking strategic plan, processes, and benchmark chapters.
As the number of days in 2016 winds down, my own days at Forrester are adding up. I recently joined Forrester as a new B2B marketing research director, working alongside Peter O’Neill. I appreciate how your appreciation of the insights and guidance from our team led to the need for more leadership, and I am thrilled to be here. So as I’ve been immersing myself in the team’s work, I thought that it would be as interesting to you as it was to me to see what our top 10 B2B marketing blogs of the year were. There were more than a quarter of a million reads of the team’s blogs in 2016, and I wanted to share the top 10 with you by readership.
Steve Casey, principal analyst, shared a fundamental truth of the post-digital world in this blog post. B2B buyers now strongly prefer to conduct their own research, without ever speaking with a sales rep. He recommends that marketers embrace this uncomfortable truth and spend more time considering how to make information readily available to these self-service buyers.
This blog by Peter O’Neill provided perspective on Marketo’s acquisition by Vista Equity Partners, which it announced inMay 2016. Lori Wizdo, principal analyst, also predicted this kind of move in April 2016 during an interview with CMSWire.
Every business today is under pressure from a startup that is disrupting their traditional market. We have seen this in the taxi industry with Uber[i], ATOM Bank is revolutionizing banking[ii] and Airbnb the hotel industry.[iii] The overused statement that today every business is a software business, is resonating in every industry and we are all under pressure to not only deliver faster, we must do so with quality and add value to our respective businesses.
Delivering faster requires a new model, one which features smaller changes driven through faster high-quality release cycles that leverage end to end automation. To guide the transition, infrastructure and operations (I&O) pros should employ the CALMSS competency model (Culture, Automation, Lean, Measurement and management, Sharing, and Sourcing). All team members who are engaged in the product life cycle – from individual contributors to the executive team – must master these competencies. I&O pros must also use benchmarks to assess their progress and to maintain or adjust their current DevOps competencies accordingly.
Customers are more powerful than ever, and nothing is slowing that trend. Your Board is the primary body for setting, monitoring, and adapting strategy. Ensuring that the Board, and the C-suite, is equipped with the proper insight and knowledge is a requirement. Research shows that CEOs rank technological change as the second-most-pressing factor for companies after economic factors. While the recognition of technology as a differentiator is a positive trend, CEOs cite concerns with the ability of their teams to handle this emerging future. Additionally, other research shows that Board members lack the knowledge and skills necessary to understand, develop, and implement tech-based strategies.
Our latest report dives into these issues and provides recommendations that hit on strategy, cloud, budgeting and funding, cybersecurity, and innovation. We talk about the importance of getting on the Board’s standing agenda and using your tech and business credentials to drive credibility and support across the enterprise. CIOs who seize the day will help their firms, team, and selves succeed.
There are plenty of good brands. And some great ones. But few can arouse the intensity of emotions that make them inseparable. Brands achieve resonance at the point of inflection where the interaction transforms from transaction to relationship. And like any relationship, resonance occurs in intensifying layers, with the best brands being able to trigger an enduring and self-amplifying relationship.
Patagonia has practically written the book on how to do this right. Newer brands like Spanx and Dollar Shave Club have built a loyal following by rewriting the rules. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and CrossFit have built communities that thrive on shared experiences. And “legacy” brands like USAA and Delta Air Lines have effectively engaged their communities to strengthen their bond.
If you deliver a great customer experience, you’re halfway to building an amazing brand. Now, ramp up on emotional connections — they are much stickier than functional excellence.
An engaged community will do the heavy lifting around building brand and salience for you — if you give them a reason to. Create the right environment and the context for your brand communities to thrive.