We’ve been talking about mobile for 13 years, but it’s finally found its true promise in 2009. Here’s why. (Links refer to Forrester reports, which may be read by clients; non-clients can still access the Executive Summaries).
1. Devices and Networks are up to speed in an unprecedented way.
Most US/EU consumers have the ability today to engage in mobile data activities because of:
· Smarter phones - “The Smartphone is dead,” because most handsets in EU/US have smart characteristics like cameras, music, and video. (See The Smartphone Is Dead).
· Faster Networks – High-speed 3G wireless capability is growing rapidly: In the US, from 32% in 2008 to 46% in 2009 and 57% in 2010. Including 2.5G, 98% of phones in 2009 and 99% in 2010 have data capabilities. (See US Mobile Forecast 2009-2014).
I talk with many IT professionals that are dismayed at how little backup and recovery has changed in the last ten years. Most IT organizations still run traditional weekly fulls and daily incremental backups, they still struggle to meet backup windows and to improve recovery capabilities, to improve backup and restore success rates and to keep up with data growth. Sure there have been some improvements — the shift to disk as the primary target for backup did improve backup and recovery performance, but it hasn't fundamentally changed backup operations or addressed the most basic backup challenges. Why hasn't disk dragged backup out of the dark ages? Well, disk alone can't address some of the underlying causes. Unfortunately, many IT organizations:
Over the last few weeks, several Forrester IT sourcing clients have asked us to review and comment on special proposals from SAP that offer an attractive discount and contractual flexibility in return for a large, irrevocable, multi-year commitment. It appears that several SAP sales teams are trying to achieve their annual targets by enticing customers to place firm purchase orders (PO's) now for products and users that they won't need until 2011 or later. This could be a great opportunity for buyers to take advantage of SAP's tough year and get an exceptional deal on software they were going to buy anyway. However, there are risks from over-committing ahead of your roll-out plans, as I explained a couple of years ago in my report, Avoid The Hidden Costs Of Shelfware, which is still as valid today as it was when I wrote it.
The most obvious risk is that delays in the implementation process will mean the licenses you're forced to buy in years 2 and 3 will sit on the shelf for a while until you are ready to deploy them. Worse, you'll be paying maintenance on that shelfware, which could soon cost you more than the extra discount you got on the initial deal.
I don't know about you, but I am developing a major inferiority complex as I contemplate the achievements of Steve Jobs. In a decade that has been punishing and humbling for most CEOs, Steve has conjured victory after victory from the whole cloth of his vision, imagination, and singular focus on excellence. I am in complete agreement with Fortune Magazine's assessment that he is the "CEO of the Decade." -- I was already taking note back in 2004.
When confronted with a problem, a new favorite question of CEOs is: "What would Steve do?"
Don't get me wrong -- there will be many useful lessons from the Steve Jobs/Apple repertoire -- I expect a few great books will take on the task of revealing them. So I'll leave that to others. But let's ask another question -- what shouldn't we learn from Steve Jobs?
1) His lessons don't work in business to business environments. Apple innovates for consumers who do not have complex systems problems and who don't talk back. Steve likes to do it his way without interference or meddling. His strategy breaks down when he has to cooperate with others or make compromises for customers, or develop products that must fit into a wider, systemic world. You'll see evidence of this as Apple tries to negotiate with a widening set of independently-minded wireless service providers.
I get many questions about the usage, pervasiveness, and adaption of mobile BI applications. What's a mobile BI application? Beyond a simple delivery of alerts, URLs, or actual reports via email - functionality that has existed for years - here are a few newer approaches to deliver BI on a mobile device:
The no brainer. In theory any mobile device equipped with a browser can access web based, thin client, HTML only BI applications. Yes, these BI apps will be mostly static, not interactive reports and dashboards. Navigation (scrolling, zooming, etc) will be quite awkward. But, this approach indeed requires no additional effort to deploy.
Customization. The next step up is to render each (or all) reports and dashboards to a format suitable to any mobile device in terms of screen size, usage of screen real estate, and mobile device specific navigation instrumentation. A variation of this approach is to create device specific navigation controls (thumb wheel or thumb button for Blackberries, up/down/left/right arrows for Palms, gestural manipulation for iPhone, etc). This obviously requires more development effort, but still no additional software.
The signs of the holidays are all around us: my teenagers have started listening to the local holiday music station, people are bundling up in anticipation of the snow that will soon be upon us, and theWall Street Journal is reporting on the expected sales of TVs at WalMart this Black Friday.
Aside from the economy, I'm following holiday shopping results because of the humble little devices we call connected TVs. CES 2009 featured many a promise from major TV makers – they assured us that connected TVs were finally ready to rock. Based on that, we estimated that a million of these TVs would be in US homes by the end of the year. In fact, if all the promises were kept, these million would be an easy sell because they would have fancy widget experiences just like the iPhone. Plus, we were assured the technology would get better every day so that accessing Internet content on the TV would feel as natural as switching from Dancing with the Stars to House (an activity I encourage).
This is not the time to go into my disappointment at the failure of some of those TVs to even arrive, much less the less-than-iPhone-like widget experiences they have delivered so far. Instead, in the spirit of technology denial, I’d rather focus on the fact that even if these TVs could do everything we hoped, somebody still has to sell them at retail. No, I'm not concerned we won't hit the million mark. Instead, I'm concerned that we'll have a million or more out there, but that fewer than 40% of them will actually connect to the Internet.
Thanksgiving is next week, and it marks the start of the mad dash to
the end of the year. As I look towards 2010, I see B2B marketers, in
the tech industry and elsewhere, face increasing pressure to reach
decision-makers, justify spending, and deliver high-quality leads to an
increasingly dissatisfied sales organization. Compounding these demands
is a lingering recession and increasing pressure from product
commoditization, new business models, functional outsourcing, and a social groundswell where buyers turn to peers to validate purchase decisions.
Certain events serve as wake-up calls. In the case of some, the anticipation of these events is enough to spark action or change behavior – maybe even spur technology investment. As technology marketers, we need to recognize the opportunity that these events provide. Obviously, we also need to be ready to exploit them.
Which events could be catalyzing events from a technology purchasing decision? It could be as simple as the approach of a new millennium: Y2K fears spurred major investment. New regulation is an easy one to identify: IT buyers scrambled to upgrade security and implement data archiving and discovery software after the passage of the EU Data Protection Act and subsequent country-level legislation, as was also the case following passage of HIPAA, SOX, Basel II and others. The events of 9/11 certainly spurred concerns about cyber and other types of security. More recently, following last week’s blackouts in Brazil, leaders issued new commitments to energy reform. Natural disaster, crime waves and other negative events also catalyze technology investments.