One of my favorite research coverage areas is the evolving world of open source software. I like it because innovation is the watchword for the space – evolving technology, evolving business models, and evolving developer culture are fascinating to watch (if you don’t have the opportunity to write code yourself, watching other bright people figure out the best ways to do it is the next best thing). One of my favorite descriptions of the space from the early days of free software is Eric Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend doing so.
For the past year or so, I’ve been thinking more and more about the evolution of the Cathedral/Bazaar model, and its eventual end state. If we stick with the commercial analogies through time, we move past guilds and exchanges, and we find ourselves at today’s commercial masterpiece – the shopping mall. In the shopping mall, the landlords provides common conveniences like plumbing, heating, and free parking, and tenets hawk their wares. Small startups might rent pushcarts in the center atriums, while anchor stores like Macy’s and Sears get big hunks of display space at the ends of the mall.
I think we’re beginning to see the development of the Mall as an alternative to the Cathedral/Bazaar model. The Eclipse Foundation is a good example of mixed source development, with anchor stores like IBM and Oracle. Now after spending time at Google I/O this week I think it’s pretty clear we have another mall forming – “The Mall of Google.”
Hola! Or as they say in Brazil — Olá! I am a new face on this blog, so let me introduce myself. My name is Roxana Strohmenger and I am on the Technographics Operations and Analytics Team, where I work with our clients, analysts, and vendors to make sure that our surveys — both syndicated and custom — utilize sound research methodologies and analytic tools. One of my newer responsibilities, though, is driving the content for our Latin American Technographics® research to help companies understand how technology and the Internet are changing the way Latin Americans go about their daily lives.
I am currently preparing for an exciting opportunity to give a presentation at ESOMAR’s Latin American 2010 conference next week, and I wanted to share with you some interesting findings regarding how Latin Americans want to connect with “others” on the Internet. I emphasize “others” because it is not friends and family that I am referring to but, in fact, companies. Yes, Latin Americans are extremely community-oriented and want to feel connected to their friends and families. And the Internet has become an exciting vehicle for them to stay connected. But, does this desire to be connected also extend to companies?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes. In fact our research shows that more than 75% of metropolitan online Brazilians and Mexicans expect companies to have a presence using social media tools like blogs, discussion forums, and social networking sites. To put this in perspective, we see that only 47% of US online adults have the same attitude. We’ve also found that among online Latin Americans who have this expectation:
Here I sit finally getting a chance to reflect on my 30 hours in Saudi Arabia. Yes, just a little more than one day. But one day was enough to change any preconception that I might have had, and spark my interest to learn more. My “day” started with the VIP treatment through passport control – which I must say was much appreciated. The airport in Riyadh is certainly not Dubai International – far from it. But if there were any disappointment at the inauspicious first impression, it stopped there. Although to set the stage, I was invited to Saudi Arabia by IBM to participate in an analyst event showcasing “Smarter Cities” initiatives in the Kingdom. So admittedly, I was only presented the “smart” side of Riyadh. I am eager to see more.
Today, Google announced Google App Engine for Business, and integration with VMware’s SpringSource offerings. On Monday, we got a preview of the news from David Glazer, Engineering Director at Google, and Jerry Chen, Senior Director Cloud Services at VMware.
For tech industry strategists, this is another step in the development of cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS). Java Spring developers now have a full platform-as-a-service host offering in Google App Engine for Business, the previously announced VMforce offering from salesforce.com, plus the options of running their own platform and OS stacks on premise or in virtual machines at service providers supporting vCloud Express, such as Terremark.
What’s next? IBM and Oracle have yet to put up full Java PaaS offerings, so I expect that to show up sometime soon – feels late already for them to put up some kind of early developer version. And SAP is also likely to create their own PaaS offering. But it’s not clear if any of them will put the same emphasis on portability and flexible, rich Web-facing apps that Google and VMware are.
So Google aims to expand into enterprise support – but will need more than the planned SQL support, SSL, and SLAs they are adding this year. They'll also need to figure out how to fully integrate into corporate networks, the way that CloudSwitch aims to do.
I just attended Unica’s annual Marketing Innovation Summit (MIS) this year in Orlando. I sat in on a few terrific conversations about making multi-channel marketing a reality. Here is the first: An overview of Intercontinental Hotel Group’s (IHG’s) use of data-driven marketing to improve communications with existing customers and prospects.
Lincoln Barrett, vice president for guest marketing and alliances, shared that, for IHG, building a customer-centric marketing strategy hinged on three different, but overlapping, initiatives:
Invest in technology
Expand into new frontiers
Build a centralized customer organization
Each of these initiatives is still a work in progress, but excellent progress has already been made in each one.
Invest In Technology
Step one here was to build a new data warehouse and real-time data mart that would allow IHG to match the data it was gathering through proprietary and third-party sources to existing customer information. This step also made it possible to gain immediate access to data for analysis or campaign building purposes – a significant upgrade to IHG's previous functionality, which updated records in batches and only made data available some 30 days after a customer incident (like a hotel stay).
The next step was to expand outbound campaigns beyond email. Technology upgrades (using Unica) automated internal campaign processes, created localization capabilities (for franchisees to create programs customized to their locale and customer relationships), and integrated call center data and activities with outbound campaign management. As part of this step, IHG also streamlined its formerly multi-agency model into a single global agency.
Multichannel customers have traditionally been more profitable for consumer product, service, and media companies. Consumers who shop both online and in-store spend more.
Multichannel media consumers have higher levels of engagement than those present in only one channel. The more one watches TV, listens to the radio, spends time online, etc., the more advertising they consume.
Mobile adds a new dimension, a new medium, and a new tool to allow brands to engage with their consumers. Mobile is an even more contextual medium than TV or online. Mobile phones are personal. Mobile phones tie into an environment. Certainly, location is one aspect, but “where” is more than location. “Where” can mean the living room at home, in the car, or in a store.
Forrester recently completed a case study on Yahoo! Fantasy Football. Fantasy football presents a unique opportunity, given that the majority of NFL games are played on Sunday. Not everyone can plunk down on the couch in front of the TV on Sunday to track their players. Moreover, most people don’t have the ability to follow multiple games at one time – at least in the level of detail required to follow all of their players on all of their teams. Historically (pre-Internet), fantasy football players had to wait until Monday or even Tuesday to get player stats and begin to compile their scores. The Internet offered players the ability to do this in real time. Mobile offers players the opportunity to follow their teams, players, and scores in real time anywhere. Mobile offers immediacy. Mobile frees participants to go out in the yard to play with the kids or run errands without losing track of their games, scores, and players.
My friend and highly respected colleague, Wayne Eckerson from TDWI, posted a great article called “Purple BI People”. In the article he described some of the best practices for business and IT alignment, and cross-functional skills sets needed for successful and effective BI professionals. Wayne, I loved the blue cow analogy, you know that I always think in metaphors, analogies, similies and associations. But, while I completely agree with Wayne in his near term assessment, best practices and recommendations, I would like to suggest another long term point of view.
Can business and IT ever align on BI? Can business ever be satisfied with IT for delivering successful and effective BI applications? Is there such a thing as BT (Business Technology, the phrase that Forrester coined and promotes) in BI?
I used to think we could deliver on that promise. Not so sure it’s that straightforward now. Just look at some of the hopelessly diametrically opposing business and IT priorities. I hear the following complaints from my clients day in and day out:
Business is all about revenue generation. While IT can support that, much more often cost cutting is IT's highest priority.
Business wants solutions now. Not tomorrow. IT needs to go through due diligence of testing and approving BI applications. Right now, on demand does not sit well with IT.
Business wants to react to constantly changing BI requirements. IT has to plan.
Business sometimes is willing to do something “quick and dirty” – even at the expense of potentially jeopardizing accuracy and adherence, compliance with standards. IT is all about compliance and sticking with standards.
Yesterday I attended the first day of SuccessFactors’ California customer conference at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Efficiency, speed, and good orchestration were evident throughout the day. The CEO, Lars Dalgaard, is a high-energy person who exudes confidence in the growth of his company. He is a real showman, and rather than giving a high-level company overview, his 90-minute presentation focused on product demos with touchscreen projections that worked fairly well. He clearly knows the products, has market momentum, and is driving the company forward. Lars would say, “We are about ‘Execution!’” The SuccessFactors slogan is “Success = Strategy + Execution.” The touted “new” offerings include recruiting (it’s been out for two years); a core HR data management app called Employee Central; calibration; goal execution; and the brand-new offerings through acquisitions -- Inform for workforce planning and analytics, and CubeTree for social collaboration. Acquisitions are new for SuccessFactors, so it hasn’t had experience in bringing together different company cultures and technologies, but my bet is that they’ll be successful.
Forrester surveyed US consumers about their satisfaction with Web-to-store and store-to-Web transitions in three retail segments — apparel/accessories/footwear, consumer electronics, and wireless phones and service.
The results: Satisfaction with both Web-to-store and store-to-Web shopping is low.
Consumer electronics: 66% satisfied with Web-to-store shopping, and 55% satisfied with store-to-Web shopping.
Apparel/footwear/accessories: 60% satisfied with Web-to-store shopping, and 53% satisfied with store-to-Web shopping.
Wireless products and services: 54% satisfied with Web-to-store shopping, and 48% satisfied with store-to-Web shopping.
I have long resisted and will continue to resist for the foreseeable future any notions that the BI market is commoditizing. A single simple look at the BI maturity in enterprises and next gen BI technologies is a simple proof that we are far, very far, from any kinds of commoditization. Consolidation is quite a different story. Last week's SAP acquisition of Sybase and my roaming the exhibitor / partner floor at SAPPHIRE in Orlando are two more proofs. On a huge SAPPHIRE exhibition floor I could count software partners by the number of the fingers on my hands. Why? Because everyone who matters has been acquired by a competitor! Most of the exhibitors were management consultancies, systems integrators and other SAP implementation partners. Hence, a lesson to independent BI vendors: offer your own full BI stack or position yourself for an acquisition. No other long-term options in my mind.
But as always I welcome all and any comments and opposing views.