Almost four years ago, I began a new journey at Forrester Research when I agreed to take on the B2B marketing research coverage and practice. The first significant research that I conducted and wrote, “B2B Marketing Needs A Makeover – Now,” looked at the challenges B2B marketers face and how they address these issues through marketing programs and technology investment. Little did I know that “Makeover” would become the seminal piece of research in a series that extends across those four years and culminates in an upcoming report next week.
Today, it is with a mix of pride, nostalgia, excitement, and deep appreciation that I announce the next step in that B2B marketing journey, which started in 2006 here at Forrester, but extends back more than a decade earlier through various high-technology marketing positions I held prior to becoming an analyst.
At the end of March, I will leave Forrester to become the Vice President of Industry Marketing for Xerox Global Services, North America.
Very simply, I have been helping many clients face down their marketing challenges, adopt new approaches, and improve the reputation and standing of marketing at their firms for some time. While personally rewarding in so many ways, I longed to return to my roots where I could do more practicing and less preaching. Xerox offers me this opportunity.
Cliff Condon, the Forrester VP in charge of research processes, just pulled the trigger on Forrester's new blogging network. I'm very excited about the new platform, for it provides a rock solid foundation for enhancing Forrester's research and service engagement. Let us know what you think!
And while you're thinking, here's what Cliff has to say.
Hey everyone. Here it is – Forrester’s new blog network. We made some changes to improve the experience for readers and to encourage more analysts to blog. Feel free to poke around and let me know what you think.
There are a few things I’d like to point out to you:
A lot of emerging companies think they've "arrived" when they've launched their first analyst briefing "tour." Oftentimes, these start-ups have very small to no marketing function internally, instead turning to outside agencies for public relations, marketing communications, and of course, the debut to the analyst influencers. These small firms feel confident that once they've placed themselves in the hands of the seemingly capable agencies, they'll get all the ink and influence needed to execute the hockey-stick growth curve they've presented to their board and investors. The agency then scurries off, schedules a bunch of analyst briefings, and gives themselves a big pat on the back: mission accomplished! The appointed briefing time comes, the firm's show dog delivers the pitch, and then. . . the promise of a successful briefing fizzles.
Earlier this week, I had a briefing with just such a start-up. The agency dutifully sent me the slides in advance and, as analysts are inclined to do, I took a look. . . and was left wondering just what value this agency was providing to this client. Why? The slide deck, while short, did nothing to sell this company to me, the analyst. Here's the start-up's value proposition:
To this end, Company X seeks to design a system leveraging the latest technologies and utilizing a common processing engine and user interface to provide an integrated, easy-to-use, cost effective solution for financial institution.
Deloitte recently made two acquisitions that may not make front-page headlines, but for sourcing professionals, they are noteworthy. In February/March Deloitte announced the acquisition of 1) dcarbon8, a carbon and sustainability consulting company that specializes in supply-chain management and carbon benchmarking and 2) Simulstrat, a company that pioneers “wargaming” and a spinoff from the department of war studies at King’s College in London. The acquisitions are small, but they highlight some interesting trends in the technology marketplace:
Before the recession of 2008, high oil prices pushed interest in “going green” to a peak, but the economic recession cooled some of the green fever -- and many “clean tech” companies we track started repositioning themselves more as enablers of cost savings and efficiency. The acquisition of a sustainability consultancy like dcarbon8 highlights the fact that the interest in green continues – and companies like Deloitte view the green focus as more than a passing fad.
Simulstrat offers sophisticated risk mitigation consulting to companies – all posited at a simulation or “game-like” setting. In this case, Deloitte looked to the capabilities of an academic institution to bring an innovative risk services offering with its private sector clients. While simulations have traditionally been applied in government settings (e.g., war games) the potential for businesses (who are increasingly interested in risk mediation strategies to deal with macro-economic shifts) is strong.
BPM has always provided fertile ground for new ideas but often results in confusing business process and application professionals. Recently Dynamic Case Management and Social BPM are being spoken of as important directions for BPM. But how do they relate to one another? And since social media is an important part of both, what value does social really add to process improvement and Line of Business professionals if any? No doubt social improves collaboration in process design, and more important is the ability -with analytics to add a new form of input to process improvement -input that may go directly to the CEO. This is part of the BPM advantage but the area of Case Management may have more dramatic value as you collaborate during a critical incident like an adverse drug reaction, or create a stronger community to deliver a more personalized service event -or to gather "voice of the customer" data to improve case handling. But in both BPM and Case -social is an enabler and takes a seat along side important advancements such as analytics, convergence of BPM and ECM, and a stronger domain focus.
In case you haven’t heard by now, Forrester just launched its new blog platform yesterday. Why bother you ask? Well, most importantly, we want to more easily allow you to follow individual analysts and streams of research that are most relevant to you. Here is what Cliff Condon, our guru of Forrester communities and blogs, has to say about the new platform. I urge you to please take a look around, and let me know what you think. Also, let me know what type of content and discussion you would like to see from the Customer Intelligence team in the near future.
You can use Internet protocols to make phone calls inside your own network. And you don't have to pay for the minutes. But you can't do the same thing with a business partner. Instead, you have to pay a carrier like BT or AT&T to carry the phone call over the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
(PSTN is an analog network born in 1878 when Bell opened a switching office in New Haven, CT. It's done us proud, but it's time to move to a digital network.)
It's even worse for video conferencing. If you want to have a video conference internally, you can use your IP network to do it. But if you want to do a video conference with a business partner, you have to use a complex business gateway link and pay a lot of money for it.
Cisco thinks it's time to change that. We spoke with Cisco executives Tony Bates, Barry O'Sullivan, and Joe Burton about Cisco's intercompany media engine (IME), a new technology to replace PSTN with its Internet equivalent. Cisco's goals are audacious:
This week my colleague James McQuivey published a report called 'Casual Video Piracy Kept At Bay For Now'. Forrester's Technographics research shows that online video piracy is a minority behavior. Just 7% of US online adults regularly engage in peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, and less than half of them use it for video files. In fact, more people have given up on P2P file sharing than currently still do it.
Another data point in this report revealed that everyone prefers a legal alternative. Our respondents were eager to reassure us that they prefer to use legal sites for watching videos, if these would give them a convenient way to serve their video needs.
I spent a couple of days with HP executives this week here in Boston. As I worked there myself for 20 years (up to 2001, so I have distance as well), I’d like to comment about how their enterprise business strategy now looks. Of course, I wasn’t alone there; there were 250 of us. Those who follow my peers in Twitter may already be overloaded with multiple 140-character cuts: my impression is that the tool tends to makes them behave more like adolescent journalists than analysts. Often, they were broadcasting tweets before even noticing that a particular statement was “under NDA”. Vendors will learn to be more cautious in the future; which is not good for us analysts. Anyway, here are my highlights of the HP briefings.
HP’s Converged Infrastructure story includes the pending acquisition of 3COM
Nice to see that HP now has (servers + storage + networking) PLUS power & cooling! Now, HP has Cisco squarely within their sights with this one, dropping statements like “they’re just a $30B vendor while we spend over $50B in our supply chain”; “as soon as we can, we will replace ALL our Cisco gear with 3COM and realize 45% savings”; and “of course, all 3COM products use the same operating environment, unlike them”.
My Take: Well, Cisco started this. They are, indeed, seriously threatened. If HP apply their financial muscle and play the pricing game, Cisco’s business and margins may well suffer. Remember, networking is the highest margin area in IT infrastructure: HP is adding it, Cisco is diluting it. But, I also think that Cisco will make other game changing moves in the next months. HP strategists should not be resting on their laurels, they should be doing scenario planning - and thinking way outside the IT infrastructure box.
As of 3/10 our new blogging platform is live. It offers many advantages over our older platform including our new "Recommend This Post" functionality.
But I'm not posting in order to sell it to you. I'm lots more interested in hearing what you think! Is it an improvement, more or less the same, or a step backwards? Let us know by clicking the "Add A New Comment" link below.