Tech Vendors Are Disconnected From Customers' New Reality

Dean Davison

It's a shame to get old! My oldest child recently announced that he and his wife are having a child themselves. On one hand, I am thrilled at the prospects of having a smiling infant in the family - that I can hand off for unpleasant tasks. On the other hand, I am in complete, 100% denial about the word that will define my relationship with this child - the "G" word - shhhh, don't say it!

This made me reminisce about work. I remember my years in marketing at Sequent Computer Systems. The sales organization sold products based on "feeds and speeds" that became possible from "symmetric multi-processing." It was exciting stuff. We lived on the cutting edge of technology. Customers bought "products."

My next move placed me in the outsourcing industry. Rather than buying products, customers looked for solutions - usually a functional combination of hardware and software to solve a technical problem. Acronyms such as ERP and CRM were common, and the services industry exploded. Customers bought "solutions."

Now I am at Forrester and witnessing another fundamental change in the market. The financial pressures of the recent (and continuing?) recession changed customers. They now align business investments with technology costs. Customers want "outcomes."

The problem is that tech vendors are going to market the same way that we did 20+ years ago. In today's market, vendors must understand the customer - not in the abstract - but understand current problems and desired outcomes. Adapting your products and messaging to a customer point of view is called "portfolio management." Forrester's sales enablement team would love to hear about your experiences, perspectives, or insights.

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Forrester Is Hiring — Join Our Global Enterprise Architecture Team!

Alex Cullen

You know how technology is changing how businesses operate — how they engage with their customers, deliver products and services, and understand their markets. The burgeoning importance of technology is changing how IT operates in these businesses. Forrester has termed this transformation "BT" for business technology. And in our recent book, Empowered, Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler describe how IT must support empowered businesspeople who are using emerging technology to solve their business problems. 

Enterprise architecture is a critical discipline for IT as its business relationship changes. Our clients have asked us to help them better understand emerging technology in a business and architecture context — and so we’re looking for a senior analyst to address these questions. This is a plum job, because it will put you right in the center of transformation that's happening with business technology. 

You'll spend your time speaking with people in companies that are actually implementing emerging technologies like mobile solutions, social networks, and even telematics and remote sensor technologies — gathering information about what works, what doesn't, and where the industry is going. You’ll write reports on these topics and work with clients on their technology strategies.

Our current analysts on this team are working in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Foster City, California; New York; London; Paris; and Amsterdam — or from their homes. For this position, we're inclined to hire an analyst who can work in one of our research locations.

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The Cloud Is Here To Stay – Summary From Forrester’s Vendor Strategy TweetJam On Cloud Computing

Holger Kisker

On September 15th between 11am-12pm EDT Forrester held an interactive TweetJam on the future of cloud computing including Forrester analysts Jennifer Belissent, Mike Cansfield, Pascal Matzke, Stefan Ried, Peter O’Neill , myself and many other experts and interested participants. Using the hashtag #cloudjam (use this tag to search for the results in Twitter), we asked a variety of questions.

We had a great turnout, with more than 400 tweets (at last count) from over 40 unique Tweeter’s. A high level overview of the key words and topics that were mentioned during the TweetJam is visualized in the attached graphic using the ManyEyes data visualization tool.

 

Below you will find a short summary of some key takeaways and quotes from the TweetJam:

1. What really is cloud computing? Let’s get rid of 'cloud washing!'

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Live Streaming From Forrester's Security Forum 2010 - Day Two

Stephanie Balaouras

Today's Live Stream
8:30 a.m.-8:45 a.m. EST
Day 2 Opening Remarks
Stephanie Balaouras
, Principal Analyst, Research Director, Forrester

8:45 a.m.-9:30 a.m. EST
Forrester Keynote:
Moving To Information Control: Forrester's Maturity Model For Data Security
Andrew Jaquith
, Senior Analyst, Forrester

Got Time For A Coffee? Come And Meet the Market Research Team In Person

Reineke Reitsma

As you probably know by now, I really enjoy engaging with all of you through social media like this blog or via Twitter. Of course, I like doing research and writing reports, but that's very much an academic exercise. The blog and Twitter are about direct communication and instant feedback (and, in a way, instant gratification). However, these are still all virtual contacts. So, I thought I would share with you where you can find me, and my team, in the next couple of months so that you can meet us in person.

I will be speaking at Forrester’s upcoming Consumer Forum in Chicago, October 28-29, and our Marketing & Strategy Forum EMEA in London, November 18-19. The theme of Forrester’s Consumer Forum 2010 is “Unleash Your Organization To Serve Empowered Customers.” Lots of the content will be related to the new book Empowered, by Forrester analysts Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler.

The market research track will show why the ability to understand customers’ needs and wants from several data sources is the key to supporting the organization with actionable insights. It will include the following presentations:

  • “If The Company Only Knew What The Company Knows: How The Introduction Of A Knowledge Center Can Empower Market Research Professionals,” Reineke Reitsma.
  • “Trends And Best Practices In Social Market Research,” Tamara Barber.
  • “Understand Influential Young Online Consumers: A Global Perspective,” Jacqueline Anderson.
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Online Engagement: An Integration Play?

Stephen Powers

I still get a lot of client inquiries on “Web content management.” In fact, the past few months have been the busiest I’ve had since I joined Forrester almost four years ago. Many clients are investing in technology for their online, public-facing initiatives, and we’ve been having some great conversations about what technologies will best fit their needs.

But those technologies include a lot more than just “Web content management.”

In fact, I was recently working with a client on what was purportedly a “WCM” selection project and what struck me was how relatively few requirements actually had to do with traditional content management. Instead, the client wanted to talk about things like content targeting, analytics, multivariate testing, social media, and mobile. That goes way beyond just managing content, doesn’t it?

The best-of-breed WCM vendors have understood this for several years, focusing a good chunk of their development efforts on the actual delivery of content, and how to engage customers, partners, and prospects in the online channel. And the big boys — notably Microsoft and IBM — are getting into the act as well, repositioning and repackaging products and enhancing them with additional modules and adjacent technologies to support engagement.

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Live Streaming From Forrester's Security Forum 2010 - Day One

Stephanie Balaouras

Today's Live Stream
8:30 a.m.-8:45 a.m. EST
Day 1 Opening Remarks
Stephanie Balaouras
, Principal Analyst, Research Director, Forrester

8:45 a.m.-9:30 a.m. EST
Forrester Keynote:
Maturing The Security Organization
Khalid Kark
, Vice President, Principal Analyst, Forrester

Security Forum 2010: Day 1 Keynotes At-A-Glance

Stephanie Balaouras

Security Forum 2010 is upon us, and the stage has been set. After my welcome remarks this morning, Forrester’s own VP & Principal Analyst Khalid Kark kicked us off with a fantastic keynote: “Maturing The Security Organization.” Next up, Malcolm Harkins, CISO of Intel, spoke about the misperception of risk as “The Most Significant Vulnerability We Face." After Malcolm, Forrester was happy to welcome a quartet of IBM security experts and customers for a panel discussion on “Smart Security." Daniel Barriuso, CISO of Credit Suisse, finished up our morning keynotes with a presentation outlining the essential steps to build a “Holistic IT Security Management organization”.

Even though each of these presentations addressed different security challenges, in the end they delivered many common recommendations. For example, the need for strong governance and oversight and the ability to objectively identify and assess future risks. There were a few other key points that I want to highlight:

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Social Customer Service Just Got A Little Bit Easier, Thanks To RightNow

Kate Leggett

Your service processes must be the same across all communication channels – traditional and social – in order to deliver a consistent experience and value proposition to your customer base. At the moment, this is downright hard to do, as almost no company offers a solution that tightly integrates the social and traditional communication channels. RightNow saw this need and has delivered a solution that allows customer support agents to engage with customers on Facebook.

Facebook has 500 million registered users that spend more than 3 billion hours a month on their site, says Nielsen. It’s a veritable interaction hub, where many businesses have a significant presence. Some have hundreds of thousands of fans. Other businesses have smaller, yet very loyal followings.

RightNow’s CX for Facebook product, to be released in November, will allow companies to install an app that creates a “Support” tab on their wall. Once a user (customer or prospect) clicks on this tab, they will be able to find answers from community content or from the corporate knowledgebase, ask the community questions, follow, participate and track discussions, propose an idea, ask an agent (either in a public or a private conversation), and more without leaving the Facebook site. Agents as well will be able to monitor and respond to wall posts: RightNow’s SmartSense sentiment analysis will be able to detect the tone of posts and flags high-priority comments for immediate follow-up.

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Rating: Hold - Stormy Waters Continue To Toss The Minnow: HP Networking

Andre Kindness

The other day I was just reminiscing with a friend who works at HP about all the good times I had there with my ProCurve family.  When I left for a once in lifetime opportunity, I had so much hope for HP’s networking division.  Like many of my inquiries from global customers looking for a Cisco alternative, I’m concerned about the division and its long-term viability.  I’m not worried if HP will continue to exist without Mark Hurd.  Companies are more than a single leader.  There is plenty of research, books, and online debates about the effect of a single person: Jack Welch, Steve Jobs, John Chambers, etc.  The issue at hand is the existence of product lines within enormous companies, like networking within HP.  One of my mentors always said, “If you look at networking over the last twenty years, no major IT company or voice vendor has been able to pull off being a serious networking vendor if networking wasn’t its first priority.”  Fundamentally networking is one of the few technologies where a vendor has to be all in.  The networking graveyard is full of headstones:  Nortel fell off the face of earth, IBM sold off its assets, and Dell hobbles along.

Ah, you might say, what about HP?  That brings me to my three observations that every IT manager should consider when including HP in their network architecture:

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