A common diagnosis of many troubled app dev shops is that they don't understand the business well enough. The result is developers build applications that don't quite satisify the business needs, are hard to change, have poor user experiences, are not delivered on time, or any combination of the above. Despite all the silver bullets over the years such as formal methodologies, new roles, tools, and technologies, app dev shops remain largely afflicted. According to a survey I conducted last year, application developers concur that a common characteristic of great application developers is that they have a deep understanding of the business domain. Understanding the business does not mean you read the docs. It means you know the business in your bones.
Over the past year, many online retailers have looked to tap
into global online shoppers by adding international shipping options. International shipping presents a relatively low-cost first step into
global markets - it also allows retailers to tap into the increasingly international
consideration set of consumers around the globe. This topic has been key within
our research this year: our international shipping report addresses this issue from the US
perspective and we’ll soon be posting a report on cross-border shopping within Europe.
BTM (Business Transaction Management) is starting to appear on the radar screen of many clients and vendors. BTM is based on the ability to trace a transaction path through n-tiers of infrastructure components in order to provide 1) visibility into the transaction, 2) a template that could be used to understand how the infrastructure supports the transaction and 3) a basis to define whether a transaction behavior in normal, that is within the resource usage bracket observed historically or abnormal, signaling a performance or availability issue. Many products have appeared on the market over time to support this transaction tracing or transaction tracking ability. Bristol Technology (now HP), MQ Software Q!Nami (now BMC) supported MQ Series and Websphere MQ. ClearApp (now Oracle) and dynaTrace have this capability built in their SOA-APM monitoring solution, Optier and Correlsense provide visibility into transaction paths. Now we find this capability as one of the requirements for Application Performance Management: IBM ITCAM has looked into this issue from the get go, CA is developing the capability for Wily, HP is working on expanding Bristol, Compuware and Opnet can take advantage of their network analysis solutions to provide this information, Quest Software has added this feature in their APM solution and Precise is also walking the same path . Why?
Nearly two years ago, I heard that an influential blogger was interested in an analyst job at Forrester. I had just taken over management of our interactive marketing team and to my complete pleasure was able to hire that blogger -- Jeremiah Owyang.
After two weeks of holiday, I found the following interesting article in my inbox from Edward Keehnen, a Dutch researcher who did a PhD. on the decision behavior of young and older Dutch consumers.
His results show that both young and older consumers regard themselves as quite experienced buyers (61% and 67% respectively). For older consumers the level of experience has increased in the past ten years, and they also feel they are more experienced than their kids. But despite this level of confidence, when they are buying goods or services they tend to feel lost in the richness of choices: About 40% of Dutch consumers over 50 feel lost when shopping for insurances, and this goes up to a high 51% for consumers between 20 and 26 years old.
It's discussion time, folks. I want to hear what you think about the potential for Facebook and Twitter on the TV screen. No, stop laughing, I'm serious.
I ask because I published a report for Forrester earlier this month called Five Things We Want From Social TV (click here to read). It was partly in response to Verizon FiOS's new Facebook and Twitter TV widgets which were released in early July. (Look at a demo on YouTube here). Here's the summary so you know what I wrote about:
Thanks to Verizon, the first meaningful Facebook widget in the US has come to the TV. Some question whether the active Social Computing experience has any place in the so-called "lean back" living room experience. Those people are wrong. Once Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Computing platforms are properly ported to the TV screen, a new explosion of media and technology convergence will occur, affecting the product strategies of device makers, content providers, and pay TV providers. In this report, we propose the five things that Social TV providers should prioritize — steps that will lead to a converged future of Social Computing and TV viewing.
All my cards are on the table: I obviously believe in this because I said it would be a new explosion of media and technology convergence and them's fightin words.
I recently completed a report comparing the movements and trends in IT budgets across different countries across the Asia Pacific region. The general finding of the report was that although IT budgets are down on average, there is a chasm appearing between the "haves and have nots" for IT spend. In summary, while the average decrease in IT budget decrease is around 5%, of those companies getting an increased IT budget, their spend increased by between 15-20% on average, and for those receiving an IT budget cut, the decrease was often around 20%. The decisive factor on the direction of the IT budget was often the level of exposure to the global financial crisis. Those with a high level have seen the highest budget cuts, those with low levels of exposure (or those profiting from the crisis) are seeing increases or flat IT budgets.
But as is often the case with statistics, they do not tell the entire story. What is becoming clear is that even those companies with increased IT budgets are looking to decrease their IT spend in as many areas as possible. Much of the interest in the region in cloud computing has actually come from the public sector - one of the sectors that has been relatively sheltered from the slowdown in IT spend. Virtualisation is on the agenda for nearly all companies, as they look to make better use of the hardware that they already have.
I published my first report on mobile social networks 2 years ago (see here) at a time when Facebook audience was "only" around 50 million unique monthly visitors. At that time MySpace was a paid-for and exclusive experience on Vodafone-Live and Bebo was about to launching a mobile version. Needless to say lots has happened in the last 2 years.
Numerous acquisitions and parternships took place between the likes of Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Twitter, Hyves and with handset manufacturers / mobile operators. Several mobile-only communities (AirG, peperonity, itsmy.com, buzzcity...) have gained traction and there is plenty of innovation in that space. INQ generated lots of media coverage and interest by lauching its so-called "Facebook phone" and plans to launch new devices. I am not sure what the latest Facebook mobile stats are but not that long ago rougly 10% of the worldwide installed base of FB users had registered to the mobile version. Even more significantly, the GSMA announced a few months ago that UK mobile consumers who access Facebook via their mobile phone spend, on average, 24 minutes on the site daily, just shy of the 27.5 minutes that PC-based Internet users spend daily on Facebook; mobile users of Facebook average 3.3 visits per day versus 2.3 visits per day from PC users.
Mike Gualtieri and I had a surprising argument about developer downloads with several vendors as we compiled our Forrester Wave: Complex Event Processing (CEP) Platforms, Q3 2009. Developers consistently tell us they want unrestricted platform downloads -- no time bombs, no forced contacts with the vendor's sales staff, no limited-function versions. The vendors in question disputed our insistence on valuing download policies that had no such limits.
We thought in this era of open source, everyone understood this point about developer downloads. Downloads are a great way to encourage developers to learn your product's ins, outs, values, and issues. But developers learn at their own pace, not on your schedule. Developers need your whole product because they will follow a variety of paths to knowledge, not just the paths that make sense to you. And developers don't want to listen to a sales rep's pitch on the wonders of your software.