The Color of Money at Nordstrom is Not Red or Blue, It's Green.

Dipanjan Chatterjee

Cincinnati, wedged between Kentucky and Indiana at the southwestern tip of the state, is where swinging Ohio blushes deep Red. Except for a few pockets of anomalous defiance that cling Blue, one of which boasts a Nordstrom store. Nordstrom, like a growing number of brands, finds itself caught in the drama of a political America at war with itself. The upscale retailer, facing boycotts from Left and Right, has been forced to pick one. And while it may appear that Nordstrom has picked Blue over Red, it’s actually picked Green above all else.

Some brands choose to affirm fealty to a cause, and while this choice may not be overtly political, it defines the brand along the political spectrum. Hobby Lobby's owners are unabashed about Christian principles in its mission statement. Domino's Pizza, until its sale to Bain Capital, was heavily influenced by its founder’s Catholic activism. But most brands tend not to have such a foundational imperative. Many find a purpose because experts have told them it will strengthen their brand equity. Taking a stand may appear to be a shallow calculated decision, bereft of heart, but it does deliver on the one ethical responsibility that management has – its fiduciary responsibility to its principals, the shareholders.

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Introducing The New NTT DATA

Liz Herbert

This week, NTT DATA brought together a select community of industry and financial analysts to introduce the new NTT DATA, following the recent acquisition of Dell Services. Though not a well-known brand to most, NTT DATA wants to change that and has launched a series of new campaigns to run on TV and in major publications such as The Economist.

This $4.3B+ services firm is a rollup of many acquisitions including Keane, Carlisle and Gallagher Consulting Group, Optimal, Intelligroup, Centerstance, and most recently Dell Services (which included the erstwhile Perot Systems) -- and forms the largest operating company of Japan-based NTT DATA Corporation. The provider's capabilities span consulting and technology implementation and support, including SAP and Oracle and Salesforce services. NTT DATA is strongest in healthcare and life sciences, financial services, manufacturing, and public sector. NTT DATA boasts clients all around the globe – from Japan to the US to Western Europe and beyond.

NTT DATA has a unique and leading partnership with Dell (due to the Dell Services acquisition) and has a network of companies in the broader NTT Group such as DOCOMO, Dimension Data, and NTT Comms – that it can seamlessly leverage for mobile, data center, and network needs. For example, NTT DATA has collaborated with NTT Communications and Dimension Data when clients seeks a broader range of hosting and infra services related to SAP HANA deployments. NTT Group also has substantial investments in R&D and innovation including in advanced technologies such as sensors and voice recognition and holograms, which NTT DATA can bring to bear for clients.

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Only The Brave Need Peek Beyond The Veil Of Digital Disruption

James McCormick

The discussions at eCommerce MoneyAfrica Confex last week definitely sharpen my African perspective on digital commerce. While behind in some ways the continent is miles ahead in others.

I was specifically impressed with some of informal discussions on the rise of peer-to-peer commerce and engagement.  Its potential impact on collapsing the value chain between supplier and consumer made me sit-up and listen as the resultant disruption –should p2p deliver even an iota of its promise- is staggering.

What is to become of large financial services enterprises and centralized trading organizations when the majority of services are provided by crowds and peers coordinated by software? Same for wholesalers and retailers? Consider a scenario where we order shopping lists via the future incarnations of Alexa and Siri.  These agents then negotiate (on our behalf) for products directly from mulitple primary suppliers before “Uber-like” services collect from multiple locations; and deliver the requested product list at the exact time and location of convenience. How relevant will the supermarket be then?

It feels like a P2P wave is not too far off – and the vast majority of enterprise are blindly staring into a tsunami of disruption the likes of which they can't even imagine never mind prepare for.

Today's "Puzzling" Consumer

James McQuivey

This week I was chatting with a client, explaining how today's consumer has more power than ever before: More information, more choices, more flexibility for exercising preferences, and most especially, less risk associated with changing their behaviors. It's a theme people are already bought into -- Forrester calls it the age of the customer -- but it's also a theme that people are too quick to believe they understand without grasping the kinds of changes this requires for a business to serve such an empowered customer. To get to that extra level of awareness, during my conversation this week, I came up with a way to describe it that I call the puzzling consumer.

Back in the day, a company designed a puzzle for you and saw you as a missing piece. They defined a hole with a certain shape, one that was convenient to them based on the analog tools they had, the historic mindset of their industry and so on. Then the company invited you to reshape yourself to fit that hole.

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Get Started With Programmatic Advertising To Optimize Your Outbound/ABM Targeting

Steven Casey

The economics of digital advertising have never been a great fit for business-to-business (B2B) marketers. Unlike our peers in business-to-consumer (B2C) markets, we rely more on targeted and lead-based communications than mass reach. But — as a recent report that I coauthored with Samantha Merlivat has shown — two trends are changing that dynamic:

  1. Account-based marketing (ABM) is driving interest in outbound channels. ABM includes the tactics of reaching out to known and unknown contacts at target accounts with personalized messaging. This is a great use case for programmatic media buying — enabling you to deliver the ad to a specific person wherever she goes on the web (versus traditional advertising, which is about placing an ad where you hope a specific person, or type of person, will visit).
  2. The programmatic advertising ecosystem is evolving to better support B2B marketing. The buying platforms, data providers, and publishers that previously catered to B2C marketers have begun to increase their resources and alter their approaches to achieve B2B-specific goals.
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The Data Digest: Cinema's Lesson To Marketers

Anjali Lai

I love watching the annual Academy Awards — not only for the fashion show and blunders exposed on live TV but also to learn about how content resonates with audiences today and how cinema is evolving. In a world where people frequently face information overload and crave smaller bites (and bytes) of content, I’ve often wondered, what is the fate of the full-length film?

Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data reveals a curious story: Rather than reaching any type of saturation point, US consumers’ media appetite is growing rapidly: 93% of online adults frequently watch video today, more than 10 percentage points higher than two years ago. And their often-criticized waning attention span is not deterring consumers from sitting through full-length films; in fact, movie viewership is on the rise. However, our data shows that the viewing experience is changing: Movie watching is getting more personal as consumers increasingly turn to their home devices instead of going to the movie theater. 

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Yes, Cloud Is Still Safe Despite The AWS Outage - UPDATE

Dave Bartoletti

UPDATE 2016-03-02:

Less than 48 hours after the failure, AWS has published a detailed analysis of what went wrong. As we'd hoped, the analysis is extremely transparent, direct, and outlines the actions AWS is taking to mitigate the risk of future failure. If you don't have time to read the details, here's the lowdown:

  • As we expected (see below), the inititating event was a human error. An authorized admin executed a script to take some parts of S3 off line, but took more than needed off line at once. The user was authorized and the script worked, but it should have had additional safety checks (limits).
  • Restarting such a large subsystem took longer than expected. A restart of this magnitude had not been tested recently. As a key part of the S3 system in the affected region, the restart delay caused the S3 APIs to become unavailable.
  • The AWS Service Health Dashboard admin console could not be updated because it, too, depended on S3 in the affected region.

What It Means:

Our original advice for AWS customers below stands: check your apps for dependence on a single S3 region. In addition,

  • Test your operational scripts. Do you have a maintenance script you have't run for a while? Check is now for limits.
  • Isolate your monitoring tools from your production systems. You can't monitor a system from the inside while it's failing.
  • Think big in your DR and availability planning. Test a larger failure than usual. Rare events over a long enough period of time...are no longer rare.
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The Cloud Is Disrupting Hadoop

Brian  Hopkins

Forrester has seen unprecedented adoption of Hadoop in the last three years. We estimate that firms will spend $800 million in Hadoop software and related services in 2017. Not surprisingly, Hadoop vendors have capitalized on this — Cloudera, Hortonworks, and MapR have gone from a “Who?” to “household” brands in the same period of time.

But like any good run, times change. And the major force exerting pressure on Hadoop is the cloud. In a recent report, The Cloudy Future Of Hadoop, Mike Gualtieri and I examine the impact the cloud is having on Hadoop. Here are a few highlights:

●     Firms want to use more public cloud for big data, and Hadoop seems like a natural fit. We cover the reasons in the report, but the match seems made in heaven. Until you look deeper . . .

●     Hadoop wasn’t designed for the cloud, so vendors are scurrying to make it relevant. In the words of one insider, “Had we really understood cloud, we would not have designed Hadoop the way we did.” As a result, all the Hadoop vendors have strategies, and very different ones, to make Hadoop relevant in the cloud, where object stores and abstract “services” rule.

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YouTube Is The First Digital Platform To Take On Live TV

James McQuivey

Watch out, cable TV. Today YouTube shared it's newest subscription service -- YouTube TV -- with a hundred or so journalists at a live event at the company's headquarters. This is different from YouTube Red, the subscription version of YouTube enjoyed by at least 1.5 million people and focuses mostly on ad-free access to short-form videos along with a few exclusives. Instead, this new service is aimed squarely at pay TV. It does so by offering three things that cable TV has previously been best at:

  1. Live TV. YouTube announced deals with the major broadcasters -- CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox -- as well as a slew of cable programmers. Like with earlier over-the-top (OTT) TV providers Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, the content can be watched live, on an Android or Chrome device, or on a TV via a Chromecast and one assumes other devices soon enough.
  2. Cloud DVR. This is the new thing that all OTT TV services specialize in and some traditional cable packages -- like Xfinity from Comcast -- also offer. YouTube's DVR is unlimited and can record multiple shows at the same time.
  3. Sports. Yep, ESPN is one of the main reasons people still pay for TV and to succeed any OTT TV service has to have it. That ice was already broken by Sling TV, giving YouTube TV a way in to what used to be the most closely guarded part of the pay TV business.
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Spotify Loves Me; Spotify Hates Me: Serving Today's Demanding Customer

James McQuivey

Welcome to the age of the customer, a time where consumers can get what they want, when, where, and how they want to. Or at least they expect to because that's how their life is panning out more often than not. But what happens when they don't get something that seems obvious? An example: Five years ago this month, a Spotify user posted a request on the company's Live Ideas feature request, titled, "Explicit Button." The request was simple, at least from a digital customer's point of view:

Now five years later, the request has yet to be implemented, despite having achieved 7,463 upvotes from the Spotify member community. This makes it the most upvoted, unimplemented idea in the community. Yet there it sits. Search for explicit lyrics & Spotify and you'll get at least dozens, probably hundreds (I won't take time to count but you are welcome to) of complaints. Lots of people claim to have left Spotify over it. Others continue to listen but are angry about it. Spotify did respond in 2016 by saying:

This is wonderful: We have heard you, we agree with you. But we haven't yet done anything about it nor do we have plans to do so. What's up, Spotify?

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